Background of the National State of the Assets (NSoA) Project
Since 2012, the Australian Local Government Association has encouraged every local government in Australia to participate in a regular self-assessment survey of their infrastructure valuation, performance and long-term infrastructure planning practices known as the National State of the Assets (NSoA) Project.
The main purpose of the NSoA Project is to:
- Inform stakeholders on the performance of local government infrastructure and its management in a manner that is easily understood;
- Enable policymakers, through a consistent evidenced based approach, to identify national infrastructure deficits;
- Enable decision makers to develop holistic remedial measures to mitigate risk;
- Identify potential threats and opportunities in funding trends and management capability; and
- Realise value from effective investment in infrastructure management.
Measured on a consistent basis, the main objectives are to:
- Provide consistent, evidence-based infrastructure reporting for use by all levels of government;
- Monitor infrastructure investment, performance and long-term infrastructure planning capability trends over time;
- Improve the management capability of infrastructure owned and operated by local government; and
- Identify activities and actions to elevate the nation’s local government infrastructure to acceptable standards.
To date, the NSoA Project has delivered the following outcomes:
- Proof of concept that local government can provide consistent, evidence-based infrastructure data for use by all levels of government. (ref: NSoA Pilot 2012);
- A complete performance reporting result for roads and bridges (ref: NSoA Report 2013 & NSoA Report 2014) and all other infrastructure groups for which local government has responsibility (ref: NSoA Report 2015);
- Consistent trend analysis enabling past comparisons and projections for future investment in local government infrastructure in Australia (ref: NSoA Report 2018);
- Decision support in the consideration of extending existing or initiating new government funding programs (Financial Assistance Grants, Roads to Recovery and the Local Road and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) Program to name a few); and
- Improved asset management and financial planning and reporting capability.
- More than 80% of local governments have participated to date (Dec. 2020).
ALGA has partnered with the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) as the peak association for professionals who deliver public works and engineering services to communities in Australia to operate and maintain the project.
Q: Where do I input the data?
A: Data is collected via IPWEA’s NAMS+ portal. It is free to participate and as an IPWEA member you can login using your IPWEA username and password. If you’re not a member, you will need to create an account.
Q: What data is required?
A: The underpinning methodology for the NSoA Project uses three very simple indicators that answer the question:
“Is local government infrastructure getting better, worse or staying the same”?
This is a fundamental question that local government must answer within their planning frameworks.
The three indicators are:
…How good is the service?
Fit for purpose
…Is it the right service?
…Do we need more or less of these services?
The indicators are measured as a proportion of the total replacement cost in the following gradings:
Good to Very Good
Poor to Very Poor
Asset Management and Financial Planning knowledge and capability data provides an assessment of the degree of implementation (and alignment) of Asset Management and Long-Term Financial Plans.
Q: How long will it take to input the data?
A: The data input effort is minimal as the data is aligned to source data and systems that are typically required for regulatory purposes as at the last reporting period. Valuation data connects to the Financial Statements and Asset Performance data connects to the Asset Management Plan.
Q: How is the data reported?
A: The data is reported against nationally agreed sustainability, knowledge & capability and performance indicators that:
- Present a nationally consistent framework for ongoing measurement
- Identify the challenges for infrastructure in the future
- Demonstrate a need for additional infrastructure investment
Each council can download a customised NSoA report of its data for use in its own advocacy and reporting purposes.
Q: When will the report be released?
A: The National State of the Assets Report will be launched at ALGA’s Roads and Transport Congress.
It will be distributed to every local government including Mayors and Councillors who attend the Congress.
Q: Could our council’s asset base or performance be compared with a neighbouring local council, giving ratepayers or media commentators an opportunity to unfairly criticise us?
A: The report does not enable comparison or competition between local councils, nor does it encourage a ‘league ladder’ approach between rural, regional, remote and urban council groupings as they all have different needs and operating conditions.
Q: What are the benefits for our council in taking part?
A: In contributing data, local governments strengthen the sector’s advocacy efforts and contribute to enhancing their own asset management skills and expertise.
The NSoA provides a consistent, evidence-based, infrastructure data for use by all levels of government. This includes support in the consideration of extending existing or initiating new government funding programs (e.g., Financial Assistance Grants, Roads to Recovery and the Local Road and Community Infrastructure Program, etc).
It also provides a snapshot of current service levels and shows what proportion of community infrastructure requiring additional investment is needed to be in a state of good repair.
The NSoA communicates local government’s level of asset management capability with respect to implementing Asset Management and Long-Term Financial Plans.
It also demonstrates a need for additional infrastructure investment by reporting financial sustainability and performance trends against nationally adopted indicators; and demonstrates a need for capacity building in the sector.
Allows for the development of a coordinated capability building and advocacy framework for local government in delivering infrastructure-based services.
Q: Who owns the data that is supplied by councils?
A: The data is owned by those councils that provide the data and the aggregated data is vested in the interests of all parties on the following basis.
- Councils - individual council data
- State & Territory LGAs - aggregated state data
- ALGA - aggregated national data
Other stakeholders (e.g. National Transport Commission, Infrastructure Australia, etc.) can access de-aggregated data with limitations for research and advocacy, therefore easing the burden on local government providing the same data more than once to other entities.
Q: Why is there data already in my council’s profile?
A: Any pre-populated data existing in your profile is there because it was provided in a previous round of data collection and we are encouraging councils to update their data on an annual basis as at the last reporting period.
Q: Will this exercise help our council become more strategic in our long-term thinking?
A: Understanding and tracking the value and performance of your organisation’s infrastructure assets over time on a consistent basis will help build an appreciation if things are getting better, worse or staying the same.
“The online NSoA data collection form for your organisation is available on the NAMS+ Platform and is ready for you to start entering your data.”